First, three Jack Benny Show Christmas episodes that are on DVD. 1956 -A live program that features Mrs. Edgar Bergen as the primary guest and the conceit is Jack visits her home and is shocked to see that Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd are real. This script would be redone later for a filmed episode that aired in the MCA rerun package. The only Christmas trappings are a novelty song done by Jack's quartet and the tree setting at the Bergen house. 1960 -The "Christmas shopping" episode where Jack drives clerk Mel Blanc to insanity by constantly changing the card in his gift to Don and forcing him to unwrap it over and over. This was a variation of an annual gag that went back to radio in the late 40s though it started initially with Jack unable to decide between plastic tip or metal tip shoelaces as a gift. Audiences loved it so much they would enjoy it again each year. When Mel goes to pieces you can see Jack breaking up as he would always do in Mel's presence so yeah, while it is a bit of dark comedy the underlying cast camaraderie softens that and never made it seem vicious. 1961 -From Shout's selection of "lost" episodes. This is another live/tape episode that had never been seen again. We see Jack go into the audience and have a funny exchange with Frank "YESSSSS!" Nelson and then on-stage he welcomes a wheelchair bound Mel Blanc, making his first appearance since his near fatal crash 11 months earlier. Followed that up with my archival copy of the Bob Hope special from December 15, 1965 which was Bob's first ever color special. Jack is a guest on that in a sketch of an escaped criminal barging in on Santa's workshop. Bing does a sketch with Bob about Bob spending a week in his Palm Springs house. We also get a fairly weak sketch of Bob and Janet Leigh about husband and wife movie stars running for the Senate (topical reference to the election of George Murphy to the Senate the previous year and Ronald Reagan's already announced candidacy for Governor). Music from Nancy Wilson and Bing then returns to perform "Do You Hear What I Hear?" with solemnity. The program closes with Bob previewing the next "Chrysler Theater" broadcast which is a color film show "The Admiral" with Robert Young and Robert Reed and offers a reminder of just how much filmed drama of that has been MIA for decades. I then decided it was time to catch the Dick Van Dyke Show Christmas episode from Season 3, "The Alan Brady Show Presents" since seeing it after watching a variety special of this era makes one better appreciate how they did capture spot-on the essence of what an early to mid 60s variety show would be like and it was a nice if not spectacular way of doing a production number episode organically out of the show's premise. (I also get a personal satisfaction seeing this episode for another reason that shall remain nameless).